Ready, set, go! June 1 marks opening of hurricane Season on the Suncoast. As you know here in Southwest Florida a hurricane is nothing to be treated lightly. Torrential rain, cutting winds, and surges that can tear down the strongest of buildings require preparation. Review the following hurricane safety tips checklist and be prepared. It may help you and your loved ones survive a potentially deadly hurricane season.
How to Prepare for the Annual Hurricane Season
1) Listen to the forecast. Pay attention to any warnings and determine whether to evacuate or ride out the storm.
2) If you choose not evacuate, find a safe shelter to stay in that is adequately outfitted with emergency supplies.
3) Ensure your family knows when to go to the shelter and how best to get there.
4) Install storm shutters on your home, or cover windows with plywood to keep them from breaking.
5) Purchase supplies such as non-perishable food, water, flashlights, a portable radio, batteries, and a first-aid kit.
6) Have rain gear and extra clothing stored in your shelter and easily accessible.
What to Do when a Hurricane Warning is Issued by the National Weather Service
1) Get a hold of family members to determine their whereabouts and enact your safety plan.
2) Gather animals in a safe place.
3) Fill your gas tank to ensure you can evacuate the area if necessary.
4) Follow the directions of local authorities and listen to local weather reports.
5) Don’t wait until the last minute to evacuate. If you wait, exit routes may be at a standstill or completely closed.
6) Move forward with securing your home, closing shutters and covering windows.
7) Ensure everything that can be blown around and cause harm is tied down securely.
What to Do when the Storm Arrives
1) If you are not evacuating, find a secure, safe shelter. Never stay in a mobile home, trailer, high rise, or your car.
2) Stay away from any windows. Find an interior room in which you have access to emergency supplies.
3) Don’t use electronic devices.
4) Don’t light candles. Ensure you have several flashlights with plenty of extra batteries on hand.
5) Have your portable radio on so you can monitor the weather and follow any instructions of local authorities.
6) Don’t leave your secure area too soon. The storm may appear to have calmed but you may simply be in the eye.
7)Always wait for the all-clear signal from local authorities.
What to Do after the Storm Has Passed
1) Make sure local authorities have issued the all-clear signal and that the storm has completely passed.
2) Check for power lines that have been damaged or are down and keep away from them.
3) Drink bottled water until you can ensure the drinking water is safe.
4) Keep calm and remain patient. Take some time to ensure everything is safe.
5) Check on neighbors and family members and perform first aid or contact medical authorities for assistance.
6) Replenish any supplies used and ensure you are prepared for the next storm.
Remember that a hurricane is an extremely destructive force that should not be taken lightly. Always make sure you are well prepared in advance of the storm. Listen to, and follow, the advice and instructions of your local emergency personnel. Don’t put your life or the lives of your family at risk. Take the time to discuss emergency plans with your family and increase your chances of surviving a deadly hurricane unharmed.